In recognition of Money Smart Week and in the wake of the hacking
disclosure, Madigan is urging Illinois residents to be on the
lookout for unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts. This comes
amid a series of massive data breaches at major U.S. companies,
including Target and Neiman Marcus.
"This recent wave of cyberattacks reinforces how important it is
to monitor your accounts for unauthorized activity, because it's not
a matter of if, but when, your financial accounts will be targeted
by a criminal," Madigan said.
Late last week, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination
Council reported the increase in cyberattacks, disclosing that
criminals have hacked bank websites and made large withdrawals from
consumers' accounts well before banks' fraud alert systems recognize
the unauthorized withdrawals.
The FFIEC said hackers have learned how to delete or alter
pre-programmed algorithms set up by banks to alert them to ATM
withdrawals that are out of the ordinary. The scam often starts via
"phishing" attacks targeting bank employees. The scammers send phony
but official-looking emails that include links to initiate a malware
attack on the banks' systems, allowing them to obtain employee login
information that then enables them to access the banks' ATM control
panels. After the hackers alter the algorithms managing the ATM
controls, they create fraudulent ATM cards with account information
stolen from separate attacks, either using malware or scanning
programs at retail sales registers or ATMs, according to the FFIEC.
Hackers attempt to make several withdrawals from the same account
at multiple ATMs simultaneously so that the daily withdrawal limit
is not detected until the money has already been withdrawn, and the
hackers often schedule the withdrawals for holidays and weekends,
according to the FFIEC, when extra sums are loaded into ATMs and
banks' monitoring is less active. In explaining the scope of the
scams, the FFIEC cited a recent ATM attack that netted over $40
million in fraudulent withdrawals using only 12 debit card accounts.
Madigan offered the following tips to help Illinois residents
detect and report unauthorized charges:
Monitor bank and
credit card accounts daily online and billing statements every
month. Contest unauthorized charges immediately over the phone
and in writing.
Set up an alert on
your account to receive notification when your credit or debit
card is used over and above a certain dollar figure. Many banks
offer this feature as a "transaction alert."
Beware of callers who claim to be with
your card-issuing bank. These calls may be a scam. You should
contact your bank first at the toll-free number on the back of
your card before disclosing any personal information.
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In recognition of Money Smart Week, organized annually by the
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Madigan's office is
participating in two Money Smart Week Financial Regulators Fairs
in Chicago and Springfield. The Springfield fair was in the
Capitol's north hall on Tuesday. Chicago's fair will take place
on the ground floor of the James R. Thompson Center from 10 a.m.
to noon Wednesday.
Madigan's office is also participating in the following events
related to Money Smart Week:
presentation on Monday evening at the St. Joseph
Township-Swearingen Memorial Library, 201 N. Third St., St.
panel hosted by Lakeside Bank on Tuesday evening at Holy Family
Church, 1080 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago.
presentation hosted by FCB Banks from 11 a.m. to noon Wednesday
at the Collinsville Senior Center, 420 E. Main St.,
resource meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Englewood 7th
District Police Station, 1438 W. 63rd St., Chicago.
Chatham housing resource meeting from
10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Maryland Avenue Baptist Church,
8058 S. Maryland Ave., Chicago.
For more information on protecting your financial and personal
information, visit Madigan's website or contact her office's
Identity Theft Hotline at 1-866-999-5630.
[Text from file received from the office of
Illinois Attorney General Lisa